Ceramic tile for your flooring installation looks like rather expensive option, but if it’s properly installed and maintained, it will be very long-lasting and durable for any kind of house renovation, saving your money in the long run. Dealing with issues of moisture, movement and adhesion, this delicate material works only with specific types of subfloor and goes dramatically wrong with inappropriate ones. Therefore, the key factor for successful tile flooring installation is suitable subfloor. Proper subfloor installation keeps your floor bone-dry and mold resistant. Nowadays there’s a variety of options to choose from. Discover here what the best subfloor or underlayment materials for ceramic tile flooring are.
- Concrete slab is an excellent ceramic tile underlayment. This common, relatively inexpensive structural element of modern buildings is the best choice for driveways, sidewalks, patios, steps, garages and finished basements. The only problem during tile flooring installation can be with expansion joints – tiling over them can lead to cracking of tiles. Concrete cracking can cause the same transmission to the tile above. To prevent possible damage, use an intervening uncoupling membrane (also called crack isolation membrane, anti-fracture membrane or crack suppression membrane) that disconnects tile from its concrete subfloor, effectively breaking possible transmission domino effect.
- Exterior grade plywood is a high-quality construction material with perfect durability and moisture resistance that accepts tile without swelling up like interior-grade plywood.
- Cement-based backer board (CBU) is a mineral-based board that always serves as a preferred ceramic tile underlayment, because it’s specially made for tiling.
- Vinyl flooring is suitable for direct ceramic tile installation, if it isn’t only glued or stapled at the edges. Vinyl should be in a full contact with your floor. Keep in mind that overly glossy, cushioned and tile vinyl floor cannot be used as a tile subfloor.
What materials are inappropriate for ceramic tile flooring installation? Check over here.
- Standard drywall has a paper outer layer that eventually weakens and pulls off with large applications of ceramic tile.
- Multi-layer resilient or vinyl flooring in sheets.
- Tile vinyl flooring has innumerable seams that are perfect for moisture intrusion.
- Interior grade plywood must not be used in exposed, damp or wet conditions as the bonds are not durable under full exposure to weather conditions, in addition to wet or damp environments. Using this kind of plywood, you are risking getting swollen floor upon contact with water.
- OSB wood also doesn’t perform well with water.